INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
KILDARE WEST WICKLOW DOCTORS ON CALL T/A K DOC
(REPRESENTED BY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT SERVICES)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner Recommendation No: r-127217-ir-12/RG
2. This case is an appeal by the worker of Rights Commissioner Recommendation No: r-127217-ir-12/RG. The issue concerns an altercation that arose between two workers on 11th November 2010 in relation to how Ms A had allegedly treated Mr B on the 7th Novemebr 2010. This led to a complaint being lodged by Ms A against Mr B as a result of how he had allegedly treated her on the 11th November 2010. Mr B did not make a formal complaint but raised his concerns in relation to how he himself had been treated in the conversation that led to a complaint being made against him. He claims that the verbal complaint he made should have been investigated by management in the process of investigating the formal complaint made against him. Management's position is that they investigated the one formal complaint that was made but did not carry out a separate investigation into the verbal complaint made by Mr B as it was not raised formally in line with procedures.
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. A Recommendation issued on the 18th February 2013. The Rights Commissioner did not recommend any further action on the part of the employer as no formal complaint on the matter had been lodged.
On the 27th March 2013, the worker appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 5th July 2013.
3 1 The worker did not make a formal complaint initially as he was of the view that all matters relating to the incident that occurred would be investigated in the process dealing with the complaint made against him. In addition he had contemporaneously made a verbal complaint regarding the manner in which he had been treated. He argued that this should have been sufficient to have the matter investigated within that process.
4 1 The Company dealt with the formal complaint in line with its policies and procedures. It did not deal with the other issue as it had not been raised formally. At all times during the investigation of the formal complaint the worker was represented by his Trade Union and no issues of dissatisfaction with the process were made at that time.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions of both parties to this dispute.
The Court finds that, whatever confusion existed beforehand, Management was aware from the 11thMarch 2012 onwards that the Claimant had a grievance regarding the incident that occurred on the 7thNovember 2010 and that he wished to have it formally investigated. From that date onwards the onus was on Management to address the grievance in a clear and fair manner. The Court finds that it did not do so on this occasion.
However the Claimant did not pursue his grievance in a timely fashion and contributed significantly to the manner in which the matter subsequently developed. He let the matter lie for the remainder of his employment with the Company and for a number of months after his retirement.
Taking all of the circumstances into account the Court finds that there is little practical reality in recommending that the incident of the 7thNovember 2010 be investigated at this remove. The Court takes the view that it is far more important that the lessons of this incident be learned and that the Company’s policies and procedures are amended to ensure that such confusion cannot reoccur in the future.
Accordingly the Court recommends that both parties should learn from this incident, put it behind them and move on.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th August 2013______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.